Photo - (From left) Ramachandran Ramasamy, Head of Policy, Capability & Market Research, PIKOM; Cheah Kok Hoong, Chairman, PIKOM; Woon Tai Hai, Research Committee Chairman, PIKOM; and Ong Kian Yew, Executive Director, PIKOM.
According to PIKOM's ICT Job Market Outlook 2014, the average salary of Malaysian ICT professionals increased by 7.2 percent in 2013 widening the gap between skilled professionals and fresh graduates, which could have a negative impact on the national agenda under the 10th Malaysia (10MP) plan, said the national ICT association.
During the release of the report, which was done in collaboration with JobStreet.com and the national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation [MDeC], PIKOM chairman Cheah Kok Hoong confirmed the upward nett movement of 7.2 percent to RM7,152 [US$2,255] from RM6,673 [US$2,104] in 2012.
It augurs well for the industry as this is above the country's recently reported Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation rate of 5.5 percent and 3.5 percent respectively, said Cheah. "Given the positive local economic growth outlook, we anticipate that a further 8.7 percent growth in salary for the ICT industry is achievable by the end of 2014."
He said there was "a continuing concern on the potential issue of 'brain drain' within the industry as the report has shown a widening gap in the remunerations of ICT practitioners between Malaysia and other countries in the region."
"If this continues, it can potentially impact the national agenda under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) which aims to boost skilled workers' percentage up to 33 percent by 2015 and as much as 50 percent by 2020 with the objective to turn Malaysia into a high income economy," said Cheah.
"In addition to the threat of brain drain caused by a disparity in remunerations, there is an ever growing issue with the declining computer science graduates including the challenges of unemployment amongst ICT fresh graduates due to misalignment of skills and expectations of employers," said Woon Tai Hai, PIKOM's Research Committee chairman.
"Perhaps, this also explains the reason for the widening of gaps between salaries of ICT fresh graduates and their more experienced colleagues in the industry," Woon said.
He added that when benchmarking with other countries, "Vietnam and Hong Kong topped the scale - Among Asian countries, Vietnam and Hong Kong topped the salary scale, where the salary was 2.19 and 2.12 times (with Purchasing Power Parity, PPP adjusted) higher than Malaysia. Similarly, Australia and USA also topped the list among the English speaking nations."
Woon said IT jobs in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya cities attracted higher salaries. "The salary of ICT professionals in major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya is 1.75 times higher than of those who work in smaller cities and towns in Malaysia. Comparing to 70 cities around the world, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 53rd in terms of remuneration scale."
He said while the Oil and Gas remained the most attractive sector - averaging RM8,324 [US$2,625] in 2013, albeit a flat growth from 2012 - the most significant salary hike (51 percent) salary hike was noted in the IT Call Centres / IT Enabled Services sector for 2013.
Average ICT Salary increased by 7.2 percent (see table below) in 2013 - In the ICT field, Senior managers received the highest pay rise of 9.6 percent, whereas the fresh graduates have a decent 4.6 percent rise (with an average salary of RM2,451[US$773]) in 2013. "The widening salary gap between fresh graduates and their more experienced colleagues is also apparent," said Woon.
In addition, ICT Project Management jobs earn significantly higher salaries (an average of RM8, 947 [US$2,821]) as compared to those in technical or engineering fields, he said.
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